Don’t stick to carrot, stick approach

Shelter Chieza Change Management
I doubt that many will refuse an offer to have a health and fitness club subscription paid by the company for the rest of the year.

It’s now common practice within companies to demand that an employee to undergoes a health screening test before engaging them.

Although wellness programmes have become a trend for the more “stable companies”, the smaller companies have tried following suite. It’s no longer viewed as a softer and justifiable form of discrimination.

Various opinions have been raised as to how far an employer must know your personal issues through medical examinations.

However, companies have managed to justify their actions by claiming that they are in the process of identifying how many of their workers have medical concerns so this is an exercise to help come up with programmes that help them.

It’s expensive for the employer to employ someone that is not well. The number of hours and days that person is away on sick leave can be overbearing for the company.

In fact, health benefits are a tremendous value to employees but are a tremendous expense to employers.

This is just one of the many ways that companies are now incentivising their employees to get them to work harder instead of using the stick, a practice commonly known as the carrot and stick strategy.

As an employer, keeping employees happy should be an ultimate priority. In other economies, the 8 to 5 working period has been eliminated.

There is now concentration on what a worker has achieved. The employees that are given this incentive know very well how easy it is to be laid off so they are constantly on their toes. In fact most of them work more hours than the 8 to 5 ones.

At one point Facebook had incredible perks for parents and parents-to-be.

If you are a new mom or a new dad, you could get four months of paid parental leave, reimbursement for day care and adoption fees, and $4 000 in “baby cash” after the child is born.

Some companies go so far as inviting guest speakers for educational and training series. In these sessions employees meet for an hour to look at a host of issues from ask probing questions such as how they have managed to achieve certain thresholds or management methods to tricky situations they are currently facing. Of course these have relevance to the company’s overall mission and vision.

As a company you will benefit if you have health services on site where employees can be regularly attended to instead of taking time off to visit health institutions that are located far from their work stations.

We have heard of employees that have waited for service in long queues, which eats into the company’s production time

Google has physical therapists, chiropractors and massage therapists on its campus. A Recently Starbucks announced its College Achievement Plan. It allowed its employees that work 20 or more hours a week to attain a bachelor’s degree through Arizona State University’s online program, with it paying the full tuition.

Things like special event tickets and transportation may not be that difficult to find. They go a long way in appreciating the employee.

It’s mutually satisfying when both parties appreciate effort through incentives. A line or two to endorse your employee for the credit facility goes a long way in appreciating the employee.

If more and more employers appreciate that employees spend most of their time at work, it would be a healthier working relationship.

Employees that are offered lunch on the premise usually have less time to roam around. A canteen on the premise encourages uninterrupted working.

You may also want to look at other service providers that come to the office to help you with concierge services such as dry cleaning, car servicing, vegetable providers.

Now some critics have come out heavily against the carrot and stick approach which is typically outlined by the perks outlined above.

The carrot and stick approach is believed to have been first used by farmers to get stubborn donkeys that refuse to move to start moving again.

When the donkeys stopped for whatever reason, the farmer would dangle a carrot a few metres ahead of the donkey’s nose and as it stretch to reach the carrot it’s forced to inch forward the farmer would them repeat the process to force the donkey to continue moving forward.

If after this attempt failed to work the farmer would then resort to using a stick to get the donkey moving.

This idea may work for some people and may not work for some others. Employee satisfaction is not easy to attain but it is possible.

Be careful though, there are some instances in which higher paid employees no longer need all those carrots dangles in front of them.

Offering them such kinds of incentives may end up frustrating them. I have often queried those internal programmes that set targets to say if you sell for this much, we will offer you this much.

The reality is that employers must pay their employees competitive remuneration so they do not spend time trying to cover up for their inadequacies and inequitable salary distribution structure.

People have a way of focusing on the inherent satisfaction. A human being has more satisfaction in exercising their capabilities and exploring and learning. Threats and fear have never been a wise way of getting something achieved.

 Shelter Chieza is a Management Consultant. She holds over a decade of Management Experience .She can be contacted at [email protected]

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